Nuclear, Reactors

South Korea to train Egyptian nuclear engineers

22 January 2010 – The Egyptian government has requested South Korea to assist the training of Egyptian nuclear energy technicians, according to the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The state-led aid agency said that training could begin within a year, writes World Nuclear News. In preparation for its planned introduction of nuclear energy, Egypt has made a formal request to South Korea to train its nuclear engineers as part of KOICA’s support program for developing countries.

Since 1992, KOICA’s nuclear energy sector training course, conducted in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has trained over 400 engineers from developing countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia and Nigeria.

KOICA said that, starting this year, Egyptian nuclear energy engineers will be invited to attend three- to five-year-long training courses in South Korea. The number of engineers to be trained and details of the training program have yet to be determined, the agency added.

South Korea’s recent success in the tender to supply four power reactors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has boosted its confidence in the export market for reactors. The country’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy says that South Korea aims to export 80 nuclear power reactors – worth some $400bn – by 2030, to give it a 20 per cent share of the global market. It considers the Middle East and developing countries as key markets.

Egypt is currently considering six bids from international firms to provide support and advice on setting up the country’s nuclear safety regulatory framework. In August 2009, Hassan Younis, minister of energy and electricity, said that bids had been received from undisclosed Canadian, French, German, South Korean, UK and US and companies. The six were shortlisted from a total of 17 gathered after a request put out in April 2008.

The selected consultant will be responsible for training workers in nuclear safety issues, including the use of safety codes used in the assessment and monitoring of nuclear power plants. The training will also cover the preparation and implementation of quality management systems and the preparation of regulations.

The move is intended to enable a nuclear regulatory body, up to international standards, to be created in Egypt prior to the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant.

In December 2008, the Energy and Electricity Ministry announced that it had decided to award a $180m contract to Bechtel to choose the reactor technology, select the site for the plant, organise training and provide technical services over some ten years. However, the government later transferred this contract to Australia-based engineering consultants Worley Parsons.

Worley Parsons then announced in June a contract with the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) for a proposed 1200 MW plant. The initial phase of the contract will involve site and technology selection studies followed by work relating to the plant’s design, construction management, commissioning and start-up.

The contract was expected to be worth some $160m over eight years. The ministry confirmed that Egypt aims to begin generating nuclear electricity in 2017 at one of five possible sites.